In a massive setback for the Bush administration and the Treasury Department, House lawmakers defeated the mammoth $700 billion bailout plan for Wall Street, sending stocks spiraling and leaders on both sides of the aisle vowing to resurrect the package as soon as possible.
By a margin of 228 -205, the House rejected the bipartisan package, which had been hammered out over the weekend.
Supporters contended that the bailout was vital to avoid a collapse of not just Wall Street but potentially the investment portfolios of millions of Americans. Opponents contend the bill was essentially siphoning money from taxpayers to cover bad investments made by Wall Street.
The defeat came despite House leaders holding open the vote for well beyond the traditional 15-minute time limit, as supporters were unable to convince enough members of either party to switch votes.
Should the measure somehow clear the House on a second try, the Senate is expected to take up the vote later in the week.
The $700 billion plan would have given unprecedented powers to the Treasury Secretary to buy distressed assets from financial institutions, mainly mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.
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